MONTREAL – Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau grew up a stone’s throw away from the Bell Centre, and the 31-year-old right-winger couldn’t be happier to call it his new hockey home.
On Monday, the Canadiens acquired the Boucherville native and a fifth-round draft pick in 2015 from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for forward Daniel Briere, adding another offensive weapon to their arsenal ahead of the NHL’s free agency period which gets underway on Tuesday at Noon EST.
“I’m really excited for this new challenge. It’s a pretty big deal for a kid who’s playing in his hometown. It’s a huge deal for both me and my family and for everyone that surrounds me, so I’m excited and I’m up to the challenge,” offered the five-year NHL veteran, who took part in a late afternoon conference call after learning about the transaction while vacationing in Moncton, NB. “I’m going to have a good summer working out. I’m going to move to Montreal right after I get married on July 12. I’ll start skating and get into great shape to have a good season and a good start to the year.”
Eager to turn the page on a two-year stint in the Rocky Mountains, the last of which saw him spend significant time on the sidelines with a pair of MCL injuries, Parenteau believes he’ll blend in seamlessly with the group under head coach Michel Therrien’s reign come the start of the 2014-15 campaign.
“I’m really excited about the move. I think I fit really well with the type of players that Montreal has. I’m pretty good friends with Brandon Prust, Dale Weise and David Desharnais, so I’m not coming into a locker room where I don’t know anybody. That makes it even more exciting for myself. It’s a great challenge. It’s a great opportunity. I’m going to make the best of it,” stressed Parenteau, who collected 14 goals and 33 points in 55 games with the Avalanche in 2013-14, before adding one goal and three points in seven playoff games during his first postseason appearance in the NHL.
“I’m going to play my game [in Montreal]. I’m going to try to bring a lot of intensity. I’m going to make good decisions with the puck, make good plays, and score goals,” added Parenteau, who was selected 264th overall by the Anaheim Ducks in 2001, and previously suited up for the Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers and New York Islanders. “I’ve got an intense personality, so I’m going to try to bring what I can in that department.”
A self-described playmaker with an edge to his game, Parenteau, who still has two years remaining on his current contract, insists the opportunity for a fresh start in La Belle Province couldn’t have come at a better time. Not only has the one-time 20-goal scorer longed to don the Bleu-Blanc-Rouge, but he also believes that his time in other markets has adequately prepared him for the inevitable stresses that come with suiting up for hockey’s most storied franchise.
“I’m realizing a childhood dream, and I’m happy to have turned the page with the Avalanche. I’m excited to start this new chapter with the Canadiens,” confided Parenteau, who boasts 73 goals and 205 points in 291 regular season games over the course of his NHL career. “A lot of people say that it’s a lot of pressure [playing in Montreal], especially for a Francophone, but I think that I have the personality to make this journey a success. I’m at a stage in my career where I’m old enough to deal with all of the pressure that comes with it.”
Needless to say, this is one journey Parenteau can’t wait to start.
“I grew up watching the Canadiens play,” offered Parenteau. “This is special. I’m still processing everything that’s happened.”
Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.
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